The 3 Guiding Principles of the LDS Church in the Mormon Faith

A Simple Explanation of What the Mormons Do and Why They Do It

A Mormon temple with colorful flowers in the foreground and mountains in the background.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as LDS, or Mormon) has a three-part mission. Former President and Prophet Ezra Taft Benson taught the important duty Mormons have as members of Christ's Church to fulfill the threefold mission. He said:

We have a sacred responsibility to fulfill the threefold mission of the Church — first, to teach the gospel to the world; second, to strengthen the membership of the Church wherever they may be; third, to move forward the work of salvation for the dead.

Stated succinctly, the threefold mission of the Church is to:

  1. Teach the gospel to the world
  2. Strengthen members everywhere
  3. Redeem the dead

Every belief, teaching, and behavior fit under one or more of these missions, or at least it should. Heavenly Father has stated His purpose for us:

For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

As members of the Church, we sign on to help Him in this endeavor. We help Him by sharing the gospel with others, helping other members to be righteous, and doing genealogy and temple work for the dead.

1. Proclaim the Gospel

The purpose of this mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. That is why Mormons have tens of thousands of missionaries currently serving throughout the world on full-time missions. LDS missions and missionary teachings are an important component of the Mormon Church.

This is also the reason the Church engages in many publicity efforts, including the "I'm a Mormon" campaign seen throughout the world.

2. Perfect the Saints

The focus of this mission is to strengthen members of the Church throughout the world. This is done in a variety of ways.

Mormons help each other make progressively more difficult covenants and support each other in receiving the ordinances for these covenants. Mormons constantly remind and help each other to keep the covenants they have made and stay true to the promises they make to themselves and the Heavenly Father.

Regular worship on Sunday and throughout the week is geared toward helping people in their responsibilities of the three missions. Specific programs are adapted to the maturity level and age of the members.

Youth have programs and materials designed for them. Adults have their own meetings, programs, and materials. Some programs are gender-specific.

The Church provides many educational opportunities. There are several church schools in higher education and specific religious programs to augment high school and college.

Besides efforts aimed at individuals, Mormons try to help families as well. No church activities are held on Monday night so these evenings can be devoted to quality family time, specifically Family Home Evening (FHE).

3. Redeem the Dead

This mission of the Church is to perform the necessary ordinances for those who have already died.

This is done through studying family history, or genealogy. Once the proper information is compiled, the ordinances are performed in holy temples by the living on behalf of the dead.

Mormons believe that the gospel is preached to those who have died while they are in the spirit world. Once they learn the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are able to accept or reject the work that is performed for them here on Earth.

Heavenly Father loves each one of His children. No matter who we are, where or when we have lived, we will have the opportunity to hear His truth, accept Christ's saving ordinances, and live with Him again.

Pursuing the Missions

Although identified as three distinct missions, they often overlap a great deal. For example, a young adult may enroll in a religion course on how to be a missionary while attending a church school. The young person will be attending church weekly and serving in a calling where he or she helps others. Spare time may be spent indexing online to increase the records available for researching family history. Or, the young person could be attending a temple and doing work for the dead.

It is not unusual for adults to shoulder several responsibilities to help with missionary work, strengthen members by serving in multiple callings, and make regular trips to the temples.

Mormons take these responsibilities seriously. They spend astonishing amounts of time on the three missions and continue to do so throughout their lives. They have all promised to.

Source:

Benson, Ezra Taft. "A Sacred Responsibility." The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, May 1986.

Smith, Joseph. "Book of Moses." Holy Bible, King James Version, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, February 1831.

Edited by Krista Cook